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Happy Festive Season!

Friends, wish you all a  merry Christmas. I fervently pray to God to usher us to a very happy new year. In which all our aspirations and hopes are met with logical conclusions.There should be no room for despondency, just bannish it out from our systems as vehemently as we could. Spruce up ourselves to welcome the new year with the better version of ourselves. Happiness and positivity is indeed contagious, spread far and wide, whoever comes in our proximity . If we can alter the life of a single living being for the better, consider ourselves fortunate. Be there and care for people around,  life is gonna be much sweeter and fulfilling.
Have a nice festive day with your near and dear ones. Let’s celebrate the togetherness even if in the cosy confines of our homes. Happy festive time to all of you.
Adieu for now.


The Good Samaritans

Hello friends, everyone of you probably agree with me that,the few pages of a newspaper, is the real window to look at the world, notwithstanding the electronic media and their orchestrated histrionics. The pages of a newspaper give us the real glimpse of life and incidence happening all around us. Sometimes we feel flustered and angry by turning over the pages but there are also the times when we’re overwhelmed with sanguine hopes, a reassurance that the humanity is thriving and well. One of such, I came across  a few days ago and another article in today’s The Times of India, and coaxed me to relate the same to  you.

Its a simple yet touching story of a three week old, stray pony, who got injured by a speeding vehicle, near a New Town mall, Kolkata, earlier this month. As it was a stray little one, moving around with it’s mother, so there was no prospective owner in sight to tend for the hapless animal. It was lying beside a busy road, writhing in pain, when some good samaritans residing in that area, took it under their care, a local veterinarian was called,  by the evening the animal was fit enough to stand and move around with it’s mother. It was prescribed regular injection of antibiotics. Akanshya Pandey, an animal lover took the responsibility of injection and dressing of the wound every day, after the animal was located, grazing around with it’s mother. A whatsapp group was formed to track the animal and a crowdfunding was organised to support the treatment. Due to sleeping on dust and grass,the wound got aggravated. The veterinarian advised admission in a veterinary hospital.

The pony was transferred to a hospital in Sonarpur, run by an NGO, the doctor suggested that it needed to stay with its mother for milk. Samaresh Das, the chairperson of a New Town NGO, informed that they had a tough time, catching the mother horse. After a day’s failed attempt, a horse handler from Maidan was called to handle and control the animal. It was then put in a mini truck and ferried to its little one. The last report indicates that the mother child duo are doing very well in hospital.

Friend, these kind of nuggets, reinforces our faith that the light of humanity is still kindled among us. Its the very thing which separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. Let the light of it, glow more brightly and enlighten the whole mankind.
Thank-you for reading. Stay safe. Adieu for now.

Transgressions and Ethics

Friends, a few articles in today’s newspaper,  compelled me to discuss with you, regarding the role of ethics while persuing aggressive business interest. Man is born to innovate ,but he must be sensible of all the pros and cons of his new creation. There is always a fair chance of it, turning into a Frankenstein’s monster , striking back vengeantly at any time. The classic example is the creation and stock piling of nuclear, chemical and bio weapons by many countries, some of which may not be ruled by responsible leaders. Have we ever imagined the repercussion, if any one of them turnig rogue and decide to actually use them! The topic of our discussion are:

1. The decision of Japanese retailers to bring into the market – a hyper realistic mask created on 3D printer, designed by Shuhei Okawara. The mask models a stranger’s features in three dimension, a new take on the theme of facial camouflage. The Okawara’s mask won’t protect anybody against the Coronavirus but lend one the exact appearance of an unidentified Japanese adult. The mask will go on sale early next year for 96,000 yen($950) apiece, at his Tokyo shop. Can you imagine what purpose its going to serve to the mankind, beside creating a pure confusion and a symbolic harakiri! Any person could assume the identity of a stranger to escape any misdeeds and crime and turn himself or herself virtually incognito at  the drop of a hat! Today it is Japan, tomorrow it would be acquired by other countries. The innovator is going to be super rich, but do the world get benefited by it or find itself severely crippled by it?

2. The decision of Government of India, considering curbs including a possible ban of China’s honey adulterant imports. That is a high fructose syrup, whose traces have been found in many leading brands of honey. Its like the unsuspecting consumers are taken on ride to the path of peril. Only God can tell how much adulterant is circulating in our packaged food ,without us being aware of it, and to what extent we’re getting harmed by it. Why the so called adulterant be surreptiously manufactured on the first place and not identified by food safety control authorities and weed it out accordingly? Why the general wellbeing of citizens be so shamefully compromised.

3. The third topic I want to shed light on, is the decision of Singapore Food Agency approving an American startup’s cultured chicken which in other words, lab grown nuggets and fillets of chicken created directly from the real animal cells for ‘safe’ human consumption. I agree that there are scores of advantages in the field of animal cruelty and environment but does it give us clean chit to tinker with nature and natural process? As we’re evidently seeing how nature can box our ears for our errant ways. We must be extra cautious while going against the dictat of nature, however lucrative it may look, the long term fallout of which is still to be ascertained.

Friends, before the industrial revolution and leaps and bounds development of science and technology ,the matters hadn’t reached such a flashpoint as we’re experienceing now. The nature is getting increasingly trampled by our greed and unethical business practices. If we don’t conform to the basic rules of nature its bound to retaliate. Are we ready to confront it’s wrath?

Back to basics should be our mantra instead of transgressions. With lots of good wishes  adieu for now.

Conscience, the Friend or Foe

Friends, can any of us deny that one doesn’t indulge in a seemingly ceaseless dialogue with ourself. Do we talk with the neurons of the brain or for that matter, with the blood pumping heart? Literally no, but figuratively yes. It’s the combination of our living existence, we call it consciousness, and the very thing, subsequently, get controlled by a super boss and that is the consience. The driving force behind all our ‘karma’, whether it’s good or bad depend upon this incessant conversation with our conscience. Based on our inherent and cultivated moral and value system the conscience is the guide which supervises all our day to day actions and give us all important feedback for the future ones, if  we deigned to listen to it’s dictat.

The inherent moral or value system is what we imbibe from our parents and family and the cultivated one are derived from the books we read, friends and the society at large. When I was adolescent, the most impressionable age, used to have a book of moral science. The stories I read in it are still fresh in my mind, like the story of two friend in a jungle. On seeing a bear one of which climbed on to a tree to save himself, without bothering for his friend’s safety, being aware that he can’t climb trees. When the bear approached dangerously close, the other boy lied down on the ground feigning death. The bear sniffed him and found him not breathing, went his own way as they don’t touch the dead animals. After his departure the other friend came down the tree and asked quizzically, what the bear was whispering in his ears. The boy said nonchalantly, “He said,a friend  in need is a friend indeed !” Then he walked away leaving the selfish friend behind.

So,it’s highly important that a child should receive moral science lessons along with other Sciences. It would help to build on the character. Conscience in easy words is the guiding force which forbids us from:
1. Looking the other way when we see a human or an animal in need, in the streets or any other place.
2. Cheating and telling lies to build one’s career or other prospects.
3. Straying from our beloved.
4. Coveting other people’s possessions and trying to make their own.
5. Committing anything illegal in the eyes of law.
There is an evil conscience thriving in the back burner of every mind, which goads us to do just the opposite of above. Its up to us, whom to give priority. Indeed, its imperative to give precedence to the good conscience over the evil one. If we do achieve something relying on the later one, we’re never going to breathe in peace because the world knows or not we should be pronounced guilty by our own conscience.

The peace and contentment are the twin pillars of everlasting happiness in life and for that conscience must always be on the driver’s seat, in every activity of ours. So we must think before we embark on any action. Let the good conscience triumph over the evil one, so that we have nothing to regret,and life would be  a bliss!

Wish you all good luck. Adieu for now.

The Gems of Sojourn, in Bolpur.

Friends, if you’re thinking that I’m going to weave a story of reincarnation, by seeing the cover photo, I wanna assure you that no such atrocity is done by me! It’s only us,my family, standing at the ruins of Raipur Rajbari(palace) . It’s located few kilometers away from the town of Bolpur, Santiniketan, in West Bengal. As I have earlier promised to tell you  more about the places we visited during our sojourn in Kamarpara, a village near Bolpur. I can easily vouch for that the visit has replenished our aesthetic sense, which got severely depleted during the pandemic and made us gel with mother nature to a large extent. Beside royal ruins, we visited wood fossil park, stretches of sal forest, placid lakes, Biswabharoti (a university set up by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, though it was closed due to Corona scare). We summed up the visit by shopping in handicraft haat, set up in Sonajhuri forest,and a mesmerizing, soiree of Baul songs,organized exclusively for us by the native singers.

Ruins of Raipur Rajbari

Such grandeur ruins of the Raipur Rajbari, made me a little melancholic thinking, how such wealth and power could be so temporary. But the memory of good deeds remain, as the King of Raipur had donated land to the Tagore family to setup the university, from where it has gone on to become such world famous abode of knowledge and fine arts.

Sal forest

The wood fossil park, set up by Government of India, was no less amazing as it contained fossilized tree trunk, now turned into stones, dating millions of year ago. The  strange part is the fossils, dug up from the local river, Ajay, actually belonged to the evergreen forest of North East India. How come they find their way there, is quite a mistry hidden in the recesses of prehistoric world.

Wood fossil

The Sonajhuri ‘haat’ is another attraction for the local handicraft aficionados. The speciality of the haat is that it is set up in a forest dotted with Sonajhuri trees. It’s indeed a treasure of local handicrafts!
Friends, my tale would remain incomplete without telling you about the baul songs(folk songs of Birbhum) sung exclusively for us, by a local group of singers. It was so foot-tapping that non of our entourage remained immune to it and gave in to dancing along with their rhythm.

Baul singers
Holding an ektara

All the above experiences felt much more sweeter, as it came along the heels of Covid terror. I sincerely wish that Corona must leave us for good so that we can feel  normal again, and breathe freely without masks!
Wish you all to stay safe and healthy. Adieu for now.

The Twin Warriors of Immunity.

Friends, before telling you more about our rural stay experience, I wanna share with you two very simple remedies which can boost up our immunity. Precisely when,there is a nip in the air and winter is ready to set in.  Apparently this weather change time, make people more prone to ailments like cough, cold and common flu beside the scary Covid of course! Nowadays, a simple harmless sneeze or a bark of cough, evoke such terror in all the eyes around, that one starts considering oneself untouchable or something. Surprisingly, after the onset of Corona, we have consistently skirted the above maladies. When I look back, two life style changes  we adopted  right in the beginning of the year, really helped. These are:

1.  One of those remedies are a  simple glass of lukewarm water taken with a spoon of  honey and a dash of lomon juice, in an empty stomach. When heating up water for our morning tea, the supply of warm water shouldn’t be a problem. We had resorted to this as a weight loss regimen but it is working wonders for our immunity as well.

2. The second one is, taking a spoon of chyawanprass, before tea, regularly. To the ones whom are uninitiated to the wonders of the Ayurvedic concoction, it’s a paste like, assortment of, about 52 medicinal herbs and condiments like amla, aswagandha ,pipul, cinnamon, lavang, black pepper etc. Amidst these pandemic times, the potency of these mixture has become more than pronounced and relevant. If we take it regularly before consuming any warm drink, it can prove an assured boon for our good health. We are indeed fortunate that the legacy of Ayurveda is still continued by the companies like Dabur, Zandu, Baidyanath, Patanjali, etc. Above all it has no side effects, as it normally follows with the allopathic medicines. All we get is good for our physiology which in turn enhances our body ‘s disease fighting capabilities.

Friend, isn’t it far better to fortify ourselves beforehand, so that we can keep the untoward eventualities at bay. Better safe than sorry, a gentle tweak in your daily routine and include the above two suggestions, you are sure going to be benefited by it. No matter how bothersome you may feel at the beginning. You may reap the sweet fruit by just persevering with it.
I shall find my endeavor, successful, if few of you start following the regimen, not like those so called sleeping blog followers, whom just choose to follow you without giving a single look to the content of your blog, what say!!
Wishing you all remain healthy and safe.
Adieu for now.

Hope for Humanity seen this Diwali.

Hello friends, on the after-eve of Diwali, I would like to sincerely congratulate all the citizens of Kolkata for abiding by the dictates of honourable High Court for a fire cracker free Diwali. It is indeed amazing to witness a sound free Diwali night with no smell of burnt firecrackers wafting through the air nor the haze of smoke obscuring the night sky. It’s really the power of the common citizen to present a united front and refrained. Hat’s off to all my fellow citizen, specially the children, who didn’t pester their parents for the firecrackers. It was also the success of the administration to stop illegal trade of the firecrackers.
The lack of crackers, although, could not dampen the festive spirit. All the houses were decked up with diyas(earthen lamps), rangolis and decorative lights. Children were seen laughing and jumping around. All the gentlemen, ladies, girls and boys looked regal in their ethnic outfits as they all congregated for the community Kali Puja. Only sour point was the presence of ubiquitous mask over every face. But we all have to  tolerate it for our own safety.
Friends, I have never seen such bright after festive morning, with no residue of burnt firecrackers littering the grounds. The air seemed so fresh and pure to breathe, which is generally unimaginable in common circumstances. If there is a will there is a way, people have proved that. It in fact, gives sanguine hopes for a better and healthy future. Kudos to all!
Happy and safe living to you all.
Adieu for now.

Lets be the harbingers of social change.

Hello friends, we humans are very mindful of our social rights, do we give the same importance to our responsibilities? Not always. The general tendency is to harp upon the ruling government about all the malady, the society is infested with. Do we ever try to rectify it by ourselves? Be it the matter of  keeping our area clean instead of waiting for all the dirty work to be undertaken by the municipality or the municipal corporation. When the amount of particulate matter is so high that the respective High Courts  have to issue a verdict of banning the firecrackers duriing the Diwali festivities. Why then state governments have to use it’s entire police force and the loud speakers to plead us to refrain from bursting them? Isn’t it our responsibility to refrain from it on our own accord.Yet there are many people out there who act as social vigilante, we must all strive to join the group en masse to keep the light of social change burn brightly. I will give you two examples:

The first one is from a locality in Bhagalpur, Bihar. Where we recently went for a family visit.The municipality there, was in the process of replacing an old calvert over the side drain joining the main drain, across the road. You can imagine, how bothersome the process was for the residents of that area. We couldn’t keep the car in our garage, instead it was kept in the open at the main road. The pace of work was very slow and the material used, looked substandard to the common eye. But nobody seem to have any problem with it At last the concrete were laid and work came to an end. A few midsized boulders were laid to prevent the trespassers from trampling over the newly laid concrete. To my surprise people started walking over it overlooking the impediment of the boulders. The next morning was our departure time, we all trudged our luggage to the main road to set it in our car. When we were finally about to board, we saw a tractor filled with iron rods was approaching to cross the new calvert. With bated breath, we looked on, the tractor stopped, the helper nonchalantly got down, removed the boulders and the vehicle sped on. In the broad morning light, nobody deemed it necessary to object to the atrocity done to the freshly laid calvert. It can be anybody ‘s guess, regarding the longevity of the same.This evident apathy towards public works must change for the real progress of the society.

The second example is in Kolkata, where in a public park, an illegal construction was being  erected to make a knee deep artificial pool for the Chhat devotees. The regular morning walkers lodged a strong protest against it and the construction  immediately stopped. In Behala the residents of a colony  came together to set up a committee to keep their locality clean, on their own. Seeing this the local MLA came forward to extend her cooperation.

Friends the above example do give us the ray of hope that each individual can be the harbinger of change for the society to flourish. All we need is  a little proactiveness on our part.
Wish you all stay happy and safe, and happy Dhanteras!
Adieu for now.

The Family Reunion post Corona!

Dear friends, wish you all happiness and good health. As l related to you earlier that we got to spend the Puja holidays at my in-law’s place and that is Bhagalpur in Bihar.This time, when pandal hopping was out of the picture, the long awaited family reunion saved the day for all of us. The surfeit of merry making, laughter and the thrill of offering pushpanjali(flower offering) together to Mother Goddess at the eighth day(Ashtami) of the festivity, while  all the family members  donning the best of new clothes at home, never allowed to make any dent to our enthusiasm.

Me with my mother and sister in law.

It was indeed our privilege to spend the holidays with my octogenarian mother in law, who is absolutely Mother Goddess personified! Besides her the families of my younger brother in law and three sister in laws made up such a huge number that we all were practically overwhelmed with delicious food, non stop chatter, and incessant ‘adda’ sessions over hot teacups and bevy of snacks. The atmosphere at home was so electric and relaxed at the same time that we all savored each and every moment of our reunion, specially when it happened after a long stretch of gloom and doom called Coronavirus pandemic.
Friends, I observed a curious thing in more or less every person I happenned to meet there,their  perspective towards life has undergone a perceptive change. As it’s quite normal in every family, that one might feel a bit reticence towards the other, due to some grievances or misunderstandings. The corona enforced confinement had made everybody to do some realtime reflections and more or less came to the conclusion that all such pettiness are indeed  futile. All seem to be beaming, getting together and having a blast.One relative quipped that she was seeing her husband laughing loudly for the first time after the lockdowns.

Children having fun.

The added benefit this time over was that all the children of the family were present in the nest. They enjoyed the union in their own way. Whether enjoying a homemade sandwich party at the Sandis grounds during morning walk , visiting banks of river Ganga or merely playing cricket at the backyard, they were for once away from their ubiquitous mobile phones and happy too at that! The cousin sisters(the daughters of mine and my sister in law) also cooked delicious meals for us. But the high point of the reunion must be the impromptu dance session in which all including me with two left feet danced.The most surprising moment was when my eldest sister in law,who is above sixty and undergoing physiotherapy for footache, joined in and danced with us to her hearts content.

See, this family reunion taking place after such a long mental, physical and economic hardship tasted far sweeter than it normally do.Now it’s up to us to keep the love and affections for each other kindled in our respective hearts forgetting the inherent quarrels and misunderstandings. It should be the emotional backbone on which we can fall back on in the time to come and make each other stronger. Stay united.
Adieu for now.

Patisaptas: a sweet cuisine of Bengal.

Friends, today I would like to introduce you to a special Bangla delicacy ,which I vouch, every Bengali  might call it their favorite.  It’s ‘Patisapta’ a pancake like concoction with a lip-smacking filling of sweetened ‘khoya'( dried condensed milk).Some scraped coconut and date jaggery add another zing to the filling. These patisaptas are generally prepared in ‘posh sankranti’ which falls on 14th or 15th January. The chill in the air provide a perfect foil to savour the cuisine to the hilt! But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy them some other time of the year.

In fact when my eyes fell on a packet of instant khoya in a super store, I immediately latched on to it, keeping patisaptas in mind. My entire household is a die hard fan of the sweet dish, by the way. So one evening, afterwards, I took half litre of milk, added some 400 gms of refined flour( maid) and two tablespoon of semolina (suji),made a thick batter and kept it aside. Next, in a pan I poured 100ml of milk, put it on stove, then gently added the broken pieces of khoya into it. Stirred it continuously till the khoya melted, added sugar to it,as required. Switched off the burner when it reached stuffing consistency. We can add sraped coconut and date jaggery into it. As it were unavailable,  I decided to skip it.

After giving a standing time of one hour, to the batter, added a little water to make it lump free, pouring consistency. Then heated  a frying pan in medium  heat, drizzled some oil into it and poured a ladle full of batter on to it. Spreading them carefully with the back of the ladle to give it a circular shape. When it turns light brown from both sides put a line of filling at the middle and fold it. The patisaptas are ready!

Friends,  if it’s served with a bowl of liquid date jaggery (nolen gur) which is available in any super store in tube form, turns real heavenly. Luckily I had some in my fridge. Till it’s served on the dining table, all the members of my family, were restless to taste it. The end result you can easily guess! They absolutely went gung – ho over it, relishing each and every bite they took. What more a cook can ask for, I was thoroughly satisfied with my latest venture.

If you want to surprise your family then do go for it.I can safely assure you of its magnificent outcome. Wish you all happy trial and tasting too! Do let me know if any of you actually tried.
Keep cooking up storm in your kitchen.
Adieu for now.